Dial Properties intends to move forward with plans to improve Sunset Plaza Mall in Norfolk.

Josh Vickery, a development investment specialist with DP Management, said the recently announced plans to close the Herberger’s store at the mall is regrettable, but Dial Properties — which owns Sunset Plaza — is reworking numbers to find a way to move forward with renovations.

In mid-April, Dial Properties announced it had begun the process of obtaining an Enhanced Employment District designation that would enable ownership to finance up to $3.5 million for the project. As part of the plan, a proposed 1 percent occupation tax would be applied only to retailers in the enhanced area district, and that revenue generated would be applied to the loan.

Officials with Dial planned to go before the Norfolk City Council in May to request the creation of the district that would include mall tenants and out lots. But less than a week after Dial Properties announced its plans, Bon-Ton Stores announced the closure of its stores nationwide, including Herberger’s, which has served as an anchor at Sunset Plaza since opening in 1982.  

“While we regret the closure of Herberger’s, we also look at it as a huge opportunity for Sunset Plaza and the City of Norfolk to lure some new national tenants to the market,” Vickery said. “It is rare that you have such a large available space in an ideal location.”

Vickery said Dial’s leasing team is working diligently with several tenants it believes the City of Norfolk would be excited to have in the community, but without Herberger’s, there will be significantly fewer sales to generate revenue as part of the enhancement employment district plan.

“With that being said, we are reworking our numbers and trying to find a way to move forward with the renovations that will be essential to get those tenants to the mall,” Vickery said.

In other news

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — A fight is emerging over whether a son of Aretha Franklin could be put in charge of the late singer’s estate after a 2014 handwritten will was found under cushions in her suburban Detroit home.

HAMBURG, Iowa (AP) — Two new bridges are planned for a flood-prone highway low spot near a Missouri River bridge that connects southeast Nebraska with southwest Iowa, an Iowa highway official said.

VERDEL — Finding old U.S. flags inside the walls of a Verdel house that was being reconstructed — after suffering damage during the historic March flooding — came as a surprise to everyone involved.